Essex parishes to get part-time minister

PUBLISHED: 11:37 07 August 2008 | UPDATED: 07:04 30 May 2010

CHURCHGOERS appear to be the latest casualties of the credit crunch as the Bishop of Colchester has announced that the five parishes next minister will be appointed on a part-time basis. Churches are under pressure to cut costs and become more efficient,

CHURCHGOERS appear to be the latest casualties of the credit crunch as the Bishop of Colchester has announced that the five parishes' next minister will be appointed on a part-time basis.

Churches are under pressure to cut costs and become more efficient, and, following the exit of the previous vicar, Gillian Greenslade, in June, the search has been on for her replacement, but whoever it is, they will be doing two jobs.

Some church goers will be disappointed by the news and concerned that a part-time vicar will mean less time at the altar, but parishes' spokesman Angela Harbottle wants to alleviate any fears of a resulting sub-standard church service.

She said: "At a meeting with the Bishop and Archdeacon of Colchester the options open to us were to either have a part-time retired person, to have a person living in the area and taking services, but working elsewhere, or to have a dual role ministry.

"We went for the dual role option because it means we will have a priest living in the Rectory in the five parishes, but they will also take on the role of Warden of Readers for the Chelmsford Area."

The five parishes comprise Broxted, Great Easton, Tilty, Little Easton and Chickney, and all the villages apart from Chickney have a fully functioning church scene, which was all previously overseen by one full time vicar.

There is a new ruling that only allows full time vicars to be placed in communities with more than 3000 residents, but the five parishes were given special dispensation because Rev Jack Filby suffered from motor neurone disease, before Rev Greenslade took over two years ago.

"Personally I don't think it is a bad idea, because it is better than we expected," said Mrs Harbottle. "The churchwardens are confident that there will be no problem, I think we are all hoping for a person who is young and ambitious enough to do the two jobs, perhaps with wife and children which would be wonderful for us, because I think we are missing out on the youth involvement."

What do you think? Write to us at 2 Angel Lane, Great Dunmow, Essex, CM6 1AQ or e-mail us at nick.thompson@archant.co.uk

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